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About the Center

History

The Lindy Boggs National Center for Community Literacy (Boggs Center) originated from an initial dialogue and partnership in 1996 between the resident leadership of public housing and James C. Carter, S.J., then-president of Loyola University.  The public housing resident leadership and the University both expressed concern about the immense number of people in the greater New Orleans community with low literacy.  Both understood that low literacy was a barrier for many to assist their children with school, obtain a job that paid a living wage, address their health issues, simply read the bible or participate fully as citizens.  It was concluded that low literacy was symptomatic of deeper systemic issues such as poverty and racism. 

The Lindy Boggs National Center for Community Literacy at Loyola University New Orleans opened on October 22, 1999 in Loyola’s J. Edgar and Louise S. Monroe Library.  The center, named for Lindy Boggs, former congresswoman and ambassador to the Vatican, was established by a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The Boggs Center was established at a time when literacy was recognized as a major global issue; it remains a global issue today.  While debate continues in the U.S. about what adults need to know in order to fulfill their societal roles, universities are being called upon to become actively involved in local communities and to revitalize the spirit of citizenship and education-based service.
The Boggs Center actively supports the work of the community-based practitioners to enhance adult literacy, as well as the efforts of university-based educators to connect thought to action and theory to practice.

Values

Emerging from the unique cultural heritage of New Orleans, the Center values research that is driven by the community, engages members as full partners, and addresses literacy as fundamental to the provision of social justice, community empowerment, equity and fairness for all citizens.

Vision

We envision a fully literate New Orleans region, where all individuals possess the assets and have access to the opportunities and resources they require to be productive citizens and live an enhanced quality of life.

Mission

The mission of the Lindy Boggs National Center for Community Literacy is to promote adult literacy as a vehicle for personal, economic, and community empowerment.

The center accomplishes this by:

  • Serving as a catalyst in the local community to strengthen adult literacy.
  • Providing professional development, technical assistance, evaluation support, and networking opportunities to organizations devoted to increasing adult literacy.
  • Creating and maintaining an information services network for local, state, national, and international providers focused on the relationship between adult literacy, racism and poverty.
  • Developing and implementing a community-based research agenda focused on the impact of racism and poverty on adult literacy.
  • Fostering service-learning opportunities for Loyola students and faculty.

Through the development of community partnerships, the provision of convenient access to up-to-date resources for providers, and the systematic pursuit of community-based research, the Boggs Center will seek to embody and strengthen Loyola University's commitment to social justice.

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